Author: Darrell

Women, Depression and Heart Disease

The Risks for Female Veterans By Tom Cramer, Writer, VHA Digital Media Are you a female Veteran who’s anxious or depressed? Then chances are you may be at a higher risk for heart disease. Not exactly an uplifting thought, but it’s the conclusion of a recent study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University School of Medicine. The study appears in the Journal of Women’s Health. “We found that midlife and older women Veterans with depression had a 60 percent greater chance of having coronary artery disease than those without depression,” said Dr. Megan Gerber, medical director of women’s health at the VA Boston Healthcare System. “And that’s regardless of whether they smoked or not.” Cardiovascular disease kills approximately one woman every 80 seconds She added: “We also found that with each additional mental health condition — say anxiety, for example — your risk for heart disease goes up by another 40 percent.” Gerber and her team studied the data of 157,000 women Veterans over the age of 45 to examine the relationship between coronary artery disease and the presence of one or more mental health conditions. (Coronary artery disease causes a waxy substance called plaque — cholesterol deposits — to build up on the inside of your coronary arteries. These are the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart.) “Our study suggests that women...

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VA Announces Rollout and Application Process for New Veterans ID Card

Today, November 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the application process for the national Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available for Veterans — yet another action honoring their service. This has been mandated through legislation since 2015 to honor Veterans, and today’s rollout of the ID card fulfills that overdue promise. Only those Veterans with honorable service will be able to apply for the ID card, which will provide proof of military service, and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of the standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to Veterans. “The new Veterans Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most Veterans to show proof of service,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “With the card, Veterans with honorable service to our nation will no longer need to carry around their paper DD-214s to obtain Veteran discounts and other services.” The VIC provides a more portable and secure alternative for those who served the minimum obligated time in service, but did not meet the retirement or medical discharge threshold. Veterans who served in the armed forces, including the reserve components, and who have a discharge of honorable or general (under honorable conditions) can request a VIC. To request a VIC, Veterans must visit vets.gov, click on “Apply for Printed Veteran...

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VA to Provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Some Veterans with Chronic PTSD

Today, November 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will offer Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as a treatment option for a small number of Veterans with persistent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms resistant to standard options. Providers from the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System and the VA Northern California Health Care System will partner with HBOT providers at the Tulsa Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Oklahoma State Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the David Grant Medical Center on Travis Air Force Base, California, respectively, to provide this care. “There is nothing more important to us than caring for our nation’s Veterans, and that care must include finding different approaches that work best for them,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “We have to explore every avenue, particularly for our most medically vulnerable Veterans, and be open to new ideas and strategies for their optimal health and well-being.” HBOT is a procedure that increases oxygen in the body, under pressure, to encourage healing. Currently, HBOT is commonly used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, divers’ sickness, enhanced healing of some wound problems, skin grafts, heat burns, crush injuries and other acute health-care issues that involve too little blood flow to a part of the body. This use of HBOT for treatment of PTSD is considered an “off-label” use and will occur under the...

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Honorably Discharged Vets Now Have Online Exchange Shopping Privileges

By: Chris Ward, Army and Air Force Exchange Service Some 18.5 million honorably discharged veterans now have a lifetime benefit enabling them to shop online at ShopMyExchange.com, marking the first expansion of military exchange privileges since 1990. “The Exchange is honored to open its virtual doors to millions of deserving veterans,” said Tom Shull, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s director and CEO, a Vietnam-era Army veteran. “There are many generations of service members who have not been properly recognized,” he added. “This new benefit acknowledges their service and welcomes them home. This is something veterans can enjoy the rest of their lives.” Purchases Improve Quality of Military Life Every purchase veterans make online will help to improve the quality of life for those who wear the uniform today, Shull noted, as exchange earnings support programs such as combat uniforms below cost, fitness centers, child development centers and youth programs on Army garrisons, Air Force outdoor recreation programs, school lunches for warfighters’ children overseas and more. “This is a virtuous cycle,” he said. “As a veteran myself, it is an honor to pay forward support to active-duty service members and their families.” Excitement for the new benefit has been building for months, AAFES officials said, thanks to social media shout-outs from Mark Wahlberg and Marcus Luttrell, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Richard Rawlings and other celebrities. As a result,...

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VA Scheduling Now Available Online

By: Alan Greilsamer and Treva Lutes You can now manage your primary care and certain specialty care VA appointments online at participating VA facilities. You will need a Premium My HealtheVet Account to use online scheduling. If you do not have a Premium account, please visit My HealtheVet or contact the My HealtheVet Coordinator at your nearest VA facility. U.S. Army Veteran G. Paul Moffett, who helped test online scheduling at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Murfreesboro, TN, says it’s about giving Veterans greater control over scheduling their care. “Rather than making a phone call and playing go fish, now I can [go online and] pick the date that best fits my schedule,” he says. “You can use it anytime, anywhere – on whatever Internet-access device you have. I’m excited about it. It’s great stuff.” Currently, online scheduling is available at more than 100 VA facilities and their associated Community Based Outpatient Clinics. VA plans to add more appointment types in the future and is working to make online scheduling available at nearly all VA facilities next year. Check to see if your VA facility offers online scheduling. Where can I find the online scheduling tool? If you are eligible to use online scheduling, you will see a “Schedule a VA Appointment” option when you log in to your My HealtheVet Premium Account. To make an appointment...

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